Kuu 空

Kuu—emptiness—a state of nothingness. I think this is an important concept for all of us living in modern society. Don’t rush, don’t dwell on the past. Using oneself as an empty pool for reflection yields opportunities for new discovery. Kuu is a way of taking small steps toward a sustainable society, emphasizing Fair Trade and eliminating sweat shops. Kuu’s slogan is, “Know the truth—start from there.”

Kuu has been operating since February of 2007. My husband (Gavin Allbright) and I started in Tokyo without an office but then relocated our family to Sendai. We re-launched Kuu, using the city center as our base. While we were living in Tokyo, raising our three children, we became conscious of the various problems affecting our world. We realized that problems in faraway countries affect us too. We gradually began to embrace a lifestyle that put greater emphasis on Fair Trade and “no-sweat” products.

Kuu hosts various events, lectures, and workshops. One of our biggest is the “Haha no Terakoya” (Temple-school for mothers) workshop. The workshop covers an array of topics, from alternative practices in natural childrearing and medical care to healthy and environmentally friendly cooking. Every month, many women bring their children to participate. When mothers change, families change. And when families change, society changes with it. It is our hope to earnestly address the lives of women.

We are currently living in a small mountain village about an hour and a half’s drive from Sendai. In 2008, we started on a project to build a house by ourselves. Using locally acquired materials as much as possible, we built a mud-walled, earthen-floored house with traditional methods handed down from the past. Even this project is a Kuu endeavor. We believe that our key mission is to convey in the big city of Sendai what what we feel, experience and think in this lifestyle. Now, as before, Kuu will continue to link the city with the countryside. From a variety of angles, we would like to work together with everyone in building a world that we can proudly pass on to the next generation.

Kuu=空=何もないゼロの状態。現代社会に生きる私たちにとって大切なことだと思います。あせらずに、振り返りすぎずに、ゼロの自分と向きあって見ると新しい発見がありそうです。Kuuはフェアトレード(公正な貿易),ノースウェット(強制労働廃止)など持続可能な社会への小さな一歩を踏み出す場です。「真実を知り そこからはじめる」それがKuuの合言葉です。





Fair Trade Product Review: Coffee

Ah, coffee. Consumed around the world. But cultivated primarily in third-world countries in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa. It was first consumed in Ethiopia around the 9th century. It’s now among the world’s largest agricultural exports in terms of value. Brazil, Vietnam and Indonesia are by far the biggest exporters.

Purchasing Fair Trade coffee ensures that local workers receive adequate salaries and decent working conditions. You may pay a little more, but your ‘little’ means a lot to them. Extensive studies have concluded that Fair Trade makes a positive impact on coffee-growing communities. Sales of Fair Trade products are increasing rapidly around the world, but Fair Trade coffee still only accounts for a small percentage of overall coffee bean sales.

We were pleased to see major retailer Costco carrying Fair Trade coffee. There are many other places to purchase it in Japan, including over the internet from Wakachiai Project. One other online retailer we discovered recently is Slow Coffee, which plans to open its own store in Yabashira of Matsudo City, Chiba, in September.




Slow Coffee: www.slowslowslow.com

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